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Florida Guide > Other Activities

Non-Disney things to do in Florida

We came to Florida last year needing relaxation: after the flight we had spent an extra hour and a half stewing on the plane and then another two hours in the airport after that! There was nothing to drink or eat and temperatures were in the hundreds. This was because as we landed the customs and excise computers broke down, resulting in the entire planeful of passengers staying on board. After this, we had a very long wait as we waited to get in the building and reclaim our luggage, not to mention going through all the security checks. We were all very angry and stressed and kept on snapping at each other. The holiday had got off to a miserable start!

However, once we got to our villas, all the bad feelings and anxiety evaporated away, and we soon discovered the relaxing pace of the life here was bliss! We spent a lovely, calming week, getting up late and having a leisurely breakfast, lying by the pool in the sun for a while. (Some of the more energetic members of our group were in the pool at 7.00 a.m. but I need my beauty sleep!) Later on, when we felt more awake, we would either go round to our cousins’ villa for a swim and lunch or they would come to us. It rained seldom, but then we would go inside and watch TV or play games. This was enjoyably cosy, as the adults chatted whilst making the tea and the children chilled out.

Sometimes we would go out and every time we did we found that the places we were visiting were not too far away. One of our visits was to the Salvador Dali Museum, which exhibited lots of his weird, eccentric paintings. They were all fantastic though, and the guide who took us round was really informative, telling us lots of things about Dali that I didn’t know before. I still can’t believe that he had an ant phobia! My favourite painting wasn’t really in the usual Dalí style, as it didn’t contain any fried eggs or floppy clocks! It was a painting of Christopher Columbus discovering America. It was very emotive and beautiful and I loved it, as it used many different ideas and was huge, filling an entire wall. The museum was only a short drive away (about an hour) and it was definitely worth it, as we spent the whole day out and got to see some of the surrounding town of St. Petersburg. (Good shoe shops!)

Another spectacular place we visited was the Kennedy Space Centre. Once again we got off to a bad start. We got three quarters of the way there only to find we had left the tickets at the villa! Aaaaargh! After a cool down session at “home”, Mum relented (after a gin and tonic) and decided to speak to Dad again. We set off again the next day. You have to see a Saturn 5 rocket to believe the size of it! The rocket garden was amazing – and obviously very nostalgic for Mum, Dad and Grandpa who remembered all the launches. Real astronauts gave a talk at certain times of the day too and you got to see someone wearing a moon landing suit – the gold visor is really freaky! We also saw a replica of the room where the famous words “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” were heard, and it was really weird to think of all those anxious people bent over the computers which were the ones they actually used. We learned loads about space – but how did they get to the moon with that ancient technology - they must have been busy 24/7 to get the rockets off the ground!

The villa holiday was the perfect antidote to a very busy lifestyle, and if I had the choice I would go back there again next year as they were very versatile and catered for our every need, the perfect jumping off point for all that Florida has to offer!

The whole holiday was so much fun, and we will remember it as being very special, even after such an awful start!

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Page added on: 30 August 2004
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